Unfortunately, much misinformation was communicated about the school choice bill from public school administrators to teachers.
This misinformation resulted in a few teachers emailing their legislators out of fear. Some of the more common concerns that we heard was that the school choice bill was a “voucher” program, which it is not. Another concern was that this bill would result in teachers being laid off, which is not true. The House passed a budget earlier this month that raised the base student cost and prioritized an increase in teacher salaries.
Public school administrators fear that increasing the ability of parents to control the education of their children will expose the weakness of the education systems that they control. It was right for the teachers to email us. It was wrong for the administrators to be less than truthful to them.
Tax reform also indirectly entered into the school choice debate. Opponents of the school choice bill argued that the state was funding independent schools by allowing parents to deduct the cost of tuition. They must remember that taxes belong to the people first, not to the state.
The concept of the ultimate ownership of tax dollars will be discussed again as the tax reform bills make their way through the House. These bills will force legislators to reveal their true loyalty – they will either support the people who pay the taxes or the people who spend the taxes.